The Best Roses for Zone 5
USDA Hardiness Zone 5 ranges from Portland, Maine, to Chicago, Illinois, to Omaha, Nebraska. These are areas with cold winters, with temperatures as low as -20F (in zone 5a) or -15F (in zone 5b). It takes a tough rose to withstand these harsh conditions. The University of Minnesota Extension has a long list of roses that "tend to be vigorous, are relatively disease tolerant, and require little long-term maintenance."
The Agnes rose is a double, light-yellow to apricot Rugosa. It can grow 7 feet high and wide, and it has unique crinkled foliage. Agnes has a good fragrance and finishes blooming by early summer.
Autumn Damask is a double to semi-double medium-pink Damask that grows up to 4 1/2 feet high and 6 feet wide. It is fragrant, and it is slightly susceptible to black spot fungal disease. It blooms with great vigor in the spring and often repeats in the fall. Its leaves are gray-green and have prickles on the bottom.
John Cabot is a deep-pink Kordesii that grows to 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. Its long canes make it an ideal climber as well as a shrub rose. Its foliage is glossy green and very disease resistant. John Cabot is slightly fragrant, and it blooms most heavily in late June and then sporadically through the rest of the summer.
William Lobb is a crimson-purple moss that grows 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide. This rose, sometimes called "Old Velvet Moss," is very fragrant, with an old rose scent. It blooms for one extended period in early summer.
The fairy is a double, light-pink, compact Polyantha that grows 18 inches tall, and 2 1/2 feet wide. Its 1-inch flowers bloom in clusters, and it's ideal for a ground cover. The blooms fade to almost white during hot weather. The fairy will tolerate poor soil and general neglect, according to ph-rose-gardens.com. It blooms steadily from April through December.
Belle Amour is a light-pink Alba that grows 4 1/2 feet tall and 7 feet wide. Its blooms have a slight salmon shade and smell like myrrh. According to orionfarm.com, the rose, which produces abundant semi-double blooms, was discovered in the 1900s in a French convent garden.